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No pay rise? Here’s what to ask for instead

If you’re one of the many professionals who has been disappointed by their salary increase or lack thereof, don’t become discouraged. Be proactive instead by continuing the conversation and asking your boss about non-financial benefits.

While it’s generally accepted that permanent employees receive an annual pay rise in recognition of the enhanced value their experience over the past year brings to the organisation, this custom has waned in recent years. For some today’s annual salary increase is smaller than it has ever been while for others it is non-existent.

This isn’t the end of the road though when it comes to the annual reassessment of your worth; there are non-financial elements you can raise with your boss when a pay rise is minimal or non-existent that won’t break their tight budget.

Progression and development

The most common of these is a career progression pathway. Recent research shows that 84% of jobseekers say career progression is important to them. Linked to this is the offering of ongoing learning and development opportunities, important to 76% of jobseekers.

When thinking about your career in the year ahead, what challenging or exciting new work could you undertake to expand your skills? Is there an opportunity to learn additional digital skills for instance? What skills do you know your team needs but is currently lacking?

These are questions you can ask yourself and then your boss in a one-on-one meeting. On-the-job training, mentorships and courses can provide you with skills development while also providing the organisation with the opportunity to cover any skill gaps in order to meet its goals for the year ahead.

This isn’t to suggest you should upskill in whatever area your boss identifies without considering your personal career ambitions. Instead, know what you want before going into the meeting and find the common ground so a win-win progression and development pathway can be put in place for you.

Flexible working options

Another benefit you can ask for is flexible working practices. The research cited above also found that 86% of employees say flexible working options are important to them when looking for a new job. Of the workplaces that currently allow for flexible work practices, 76% offer flexible working hours, 75% offer part-time employment, 64% offer flex-place options, 40% offer flexible leave options and 31% offer job sharing.

Not all workplaces can offer flexible working, but for those that can it is a strong benefit you could gain in lieu of a salary increase.

Additional days off

Another is additional days off work. If time is money, an extra couple of days off each year could be a suitable middle ground for both you and your employer.

Remember, salary is not the only way to recognise your value. Skills development, a career progression pathway, flexible working options or additional days off can have positive long-term consequences on either your career or health and wellbeing. Many people would agree this is worth more in the long run than a minimal salary increase here and now.


About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

Follow Nick on LinkedIn

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